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2012 Da14


Submitted By locoo
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On February 15, 2013 the small asteroid 2012 DA14 was its closest to Earth. The 50 meter asteroid passed through the gap between Earth and the ring of geosynchronous satellites that orbit earth. Geosynchronous objects orbit around the earth with a period equal to one sidereal day. Asteroid 2012 DA14 passed at about 17,200 miles above the Earth’s surface. The asteroid was discovered in February 2012 by astronomers at the LaSagra observatory in southern Spain. ( ( An asteroid is a small planet-like body in orbit around the sun. The orbits of some asteroids take them across the paths of the planets. Asteroids are smaller than a planet but larger than a meteoroid, which is a small interplanetary object also in orbit around the Sun. If a portion of a meteoroid or other object survives the entry through the Earth’s atmosphere and reaches the Earth’s surface it is referred to as a meteorite. A meteor, also known as a shooting star, is a streak of light produced by a meteoroid that burns away in the Earth’s atmosphere. When their orbit brings them close to the sun, gigantic balls of ice and rock or comets, form a tail of dust and gas while being heated by the Sun’s rays. Scientists believe that the extinction of dinosaurs, nearly 66 million years ago, was the result of a large meteorite striking what today is Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. In 1908, a fragment of an asteroid or comet exploded in Earth’s atmosphere above Tunguska, Russia. The “Tunguska event”, the blast caused by the explosion, knocked down an estimated 80 million trees over 830 square miles. On February 15, 2013, just 3,000 miles west of Tunguska in western Siberia, a 10 ton meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere. The meteor exploded with the force of an atomic bomb. It has been determined that the meteor had no connection with asteroid 2012 DA14. ( ( According to experts, the Earth is hit by a meteorite about 5 to 10 times a year. Meteorites strike as frequently as once every few months. A majority of the impacts are small. Larger impacts occur about every 5 years. ( ( There are several agencies that look out for space rocks called Near-Earth Object (NEO) discovery teams. All of the NEO discovery teams currently use charged couple devices (CCD). Multiple CCD images are taken several minutes apart and compared to identify objects that appear to be traveling. The Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) team, the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR), and the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS) are a few of known NEO discovery teams. ( ( The Asteroid Deflection Research Center, created by Iowa State University, is currently working to develop asteroid deflection technologies. The ADRC’s mission is to “develop the science, engineering, and technology required to reliably deflect or disrupt large asteroids or comets that could collide with Earth and cause a global climate change or the end of civilization.” The European Space Agency (ESA) is also researching asteroid deflection strategies. ESA is currently guiding the development of a US-European asteroid deflection mission under study. ( ( Comets and asteroids have been featured in many fictional stories. In a novel called Off on a Comet by Jules Verne, a comet collides with Earth taking a chunk with it. The people taken by the comet go on a 2 year long journey on the comet. (

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